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NEW DELHI : India’s farm sector exports give reason to cheer in spite of an overall contraction in merchandise exports in FY21. Vegetables from Varanasi, bananas from Ananthpur in Andhra Pradesh and ranges from Nagpur aided in that growth.

Agriculture exports in FY21 grew 17.3% to $41.25 billion from a year ago after remaining stagnant in preceding three years, an official statement said quoting commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan. This indicates the farm sector’s robust performance while the overall merchandise exports contracted by 7.26% to $290.63 billion in the pandemic ravaged year.

During the Jan-April season this calendar year, 30,291 tonne of banana was shipped from Ananthpur to the Middle East.

Farm exports in FY20 was at $35.16 billion. In Rupee terms, the year on year increase in FY21 is 22.62% at Rs. 3.05 trillion. Despite the pandemic, balance of trade in agriculture has improved by 42.16% from $14.51 billion to $20.58 billion. India has been able to take advantage of the increased demand for staples during the covid period. Huge growth has been seen in export of cereals with export of non-basmati rice growing by 136% to $4794.54 million and wheat by 774% to $549.16 million, the statement said.

Largest markets for India’s agriculture products are the USA, China, Bangladesh, UAE, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran and Malaysia. Exports to most of these destinations have registered growth, with highest growth being recorded in the case of Indonesia at 102.42%, followed by Bangladesh at 95.93%.

Export of spices like ginger, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, saffron etc., which have known therapeutic qualities, has also grown substantially.

As part of the agriculture export policy, 46 unique product clusters have been identified for export promotion. Shipments have taken place from several of these clusters for the first time including export of fresh vegetables and mangoes from Varanasi and black Rice from Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh, the statement said.

Despite the pandemic, export of fresh horticulture produces took place to Dubai, London and other destinations, the statement said.

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